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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

ecological vandalism « Previous | |Next »
December 11, 2003

From the 1950s-to the 1970s Tasmania was once ruled by a Hydro Commission that wanted to dam its wild rivers to generate electricity. Today Tasmania is ruled by the Forestry industry backed by Forestry Tasmania. As with the Styx Valley, over 90% of the Tarkine forest logged by Gunns Limited ends up as woodchips, and is exported to Japanese paper companies including Oji, Nippon and Mitsubishi.

The public in the Island state have shown consistent and overwhelming opposition to the clearfelling of native forests and to the desecration of giant trees such as El Grande and those in the Styx. Public opinion holds that Tasmania’s forest resource is being sold short, with far too much being exported unprocessed as either woodchips or whole logs.

Despite this clear felling of native rain forest is out of control. The pro-business Bacon Labour Government is complicit in the ecological destruction of native forest by the woodchipping industry.

Why ecological destruction? Two thirds of the area logged is clearfelled and burnt - usually for conversion to plantations---from napalming.
Tarkine1.jpg This photo is of a regeneration burn following clearfell logging in north-western Tasmania’s Tarkine area. You can see the helicopter in the centre of the photo with the “heli-torch”, an incendiary device that drops thousands of ping-pong balls of napalm on the mangled remains of the forest. Approximately 15,000 ha of forest is treated this way in Tasmania every year.

The monoculture (radiata pine or Eucalptus nitens) is sustained by a heavy program of fertilisers and pesticides that contaminates the island's water resources, and kills possums, wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, bettongs and potaroos.

Writing in The Bulletin (subscription required) Richard Flanagan says that:

"The battle for the forests in Tasmania is as much about free speech and democracy---about a people's right to exercise some control over their destiny, about their desire to have a better, freer society---as it is about wild lands. The fate of the forests long ago ceased to be a green issue in Tasmania, and has come to be seen as an issue about Tasmania's future; an issue that has joined in opposition a myriad of ordinary Tasmanians of all political persuasions and backgrounds."

Why so? Because the woodschippers are not only destroying Tasmania's natural heritage.Their contempt for liberal democracy has seen them corrupt the political process, distort the process of state parliament, deform the polity, cowed the media and stunted Tasmanian society.

This is what happens in the Third World. The destruction in Tasmania is probably worse than what is happening in Third World.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:33 PM | | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (5)

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference ecological vandalism:

» landscape as natural resource from Junk for Code
artist Ron Brooks' solo protest against old-growth forest logging in Federation Square, Melbourne. More on the clearfelling logging issue [Read More]

» waterhole dreaming from Junk for Code
Good heavens. I have only just discovered Soul Food Cafe. Thanks to Bonyton What a fine site. What a great [Read More]

» from
There is an interesting discussion over at on The Australian Greens, wilderness and forests. [Read More]

» devastation from Junk for Code
I've been having trouble finding online images of the ecological effects of the clear felling of Tasmania's old growth native [Read More]

» Destruction in an enlightened age from
Schmitt is putting forth a stark thesis. He is saying that an economic/technical rationality promises salvation---a heaven on earth--- but such an enlightening reason actually delivers destruction and despair, which may not be recognized as such. A goo... [Read More]